Call the Police if You See One of These Outside Your House in Illinois!

In today’s world, community safety is of paramount importance. The peace and security of our neighborhoods can be easily disrupted by suspicious activities and unfamiliar objects that may pose threats. Whether you live in a bustling city or a quiet suburb, being aware of your surroundings and knowing what to look out for can make a significant difference in maintaining safety.

This article aims to shed light on some common suspicious objects and activities that residents in Illinois should be aware of. By understanding these potential threats and knowing how to respond appropriately, you can help protect yourself and your community. We will also delve into city-specific concerns, providing relevant statistics and facts to give you a clearer picture of the safety landscape in Illinois.

Common Suspicious Objects and Activities

Unfamiliar Vehicles

One of the first signs of potential trouble can be the presence of unfamiliar vehicles in your neighborhood. If you notice a car or truck that you don’t recognize, especially if it appears to be loitering or circling the area, it could be cause for concern. Suspicious vehicles may have tinted windows, missing license plates, or look out of place.

Strange Packages

In the era of online shopping, packages on doorsteps are a common sight. However, not all packages are harmless. If you come across a package that looks suspicious—such as one with no return address, excessive tape, or strange markings—it’s important to exercise caution. Unattended packages in public spaces should also be treated with suspicion and reported to authorities.

Unmarked Utility Workers

Utility workers are a common sight in residential areas, performing maintenance and repairs. However, not all individuals posing as utility workers are legitimate. Be wary of unmarked vehicles or workers without proper identification. Legitimate utility workers will typically have a company logo on their vehicle and should be able to provide identification upon request.

Unknown Individuals Loitering

Loitering individuals who don’t seem to have a purpose for being in your neighborhood can also be a red flag. Pay attention to people who appear to be casing homes, looking into windows, or hanging around without a clear reason. These individuals could be scouting for potential targets for theft or other crimes.

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Suspicious Devices

In today’s technologically advanced world, suspicious devices can take many forms. From drones hovering near your property to strange gadgets attached to utility poles, these devices could be used for illicit activities such as spying or signal interference. If you notice any unfamiliar devices, it’s best to report them to the authorities.

City-Specific Concerns

Chicago: Urban Crime and Gang Activity

Chicago, the largest city in Illinois, is known for its vibrant culture and economic opportunities. However, it also faces significant challenges related to urban crime and gang activity. The city has high rates of violent crime, including shootings and robberies. In 2022, Chicago reported over 770 homicides, a rate significantly higher than the national average. Residents should be particularly vigilant about suspicious activities and objects, especially in neighborhoods with higher crime rates.

Springfield: Residential Safety and Local Crime

Springfield, the state capital, has a mix of urban and suburban areas. While it doesn’t face the same level of violent crime as Chicago, it still has its share of residential safety concerns. Property crimes such as burglary and theft are common. In 2022, Springfield reported a property crime rate of 35.4 per 1,000 residents. Keeping an eye out for unfamiliar vehicles and individuals loitering can help mitigate these risks.

Peoria: Community Watch and Neighborhood Safety

Peoria, located along the Illinois River, has a strong sense of community. However, it also faces challenges related to theft and vandalism. The city has implemented various community watch programs to help residents stay informed and vigilant. In 2022, Peoria’s property crime rate was 33.6 per 1,000 residents. Active participation in community watch programs can significantly enhance neighborhood safety.

Rockford: Theft and Vandalism Prevention

Rockford, the third-largest city in Illinois, has a history of industrial and economic fluctuations. With these changes come challenges related to theft and vandalism. In 2022, Rockford reported a property crime rate of 42.3 per 1,000 residents. Residents should be particularly cautious about unfamiliar vehicles and suspicious individuals to help prevent these crimes.

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Naperville: Suburban Crime Trends

Naperville, a suburb of Chicago, is known for its high quality of life and excellent schools. However, even suburban areas are not immune to crime. Naperville has experienced trends in vehicle thefts and break-ins. In 2022, the city reported a property crime rate of 18.2 per 1,000 residents. Being aware of suspicious activities and reporting them promptly can help maintain the safety of this suburban community.

Statistics and Facts

Crime rates in Illinois cities vary, but understanding these statistics can help residents better grasp the safety landscape. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), here are some key crime statistics for 2022:

  • Chicago: 770 homicides, 2,800 robberies, and 18,000 thefts
  • Springfield: 15 homicides, 200 robberies, and 2,500 thefts
  • Peoria: 12 homicides, 150 robberies, and 2,000 thefts
  • Rockford: 30 homicides, 300 robberies, and 3,500 thefts
  • Naperville: 2 homicides, 50 robberies, and 1,200 thefts

Police response times can also play a crucial role in community safety. On average, response times in these cities are as follows:

  • Chicago: 6-8 minutes
  • Springfield: 5-7 minutes
  • Peoria: 5-6 minutes
  • Rockford: 7-9 minutes
  • Naperville: 4-5 minutes

What to Do if You Encounter Suspicious Objects or Activities

Steps to Take When You See an Unfamiliar Vehicle

  1. Observe and Record: Take note of the vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate number. If possible, take a photo.
  2. Do Not Approach: Avoid confronting the occupants. Your safety is paramount.
  3. Report: Contact your local police department or community watch program to report the suspicious vehicle.

How to Handle Strange Packages

  1. Do Not Touch: Avoid handling the package. It could be dangerous.
  2. Isolate the Area: Keep others away from the package.
  3. Report: Call 911 and provide details about the package and its location.

Identifying Legitimate Utility Workers

  1. Ask for ID: Legitimate workers will have identification and a company badge.
  2. Verify: Contact the utility company to confirm the worker’s identity and purpose.
  3. Observe: Legitimate workers will have marked vehicles and appropriate equipment.
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Reporting Loitering Individuals

  1. Observe and Record: Take note of the individual’s appearance and behavior.
  2. Avoid Confrontation: Do not approach or engage with the individual.
  3. Report: Contact your local police department or community watch program.

Dealing with Suspicious Devices

  1. Do Not Touch: Avoid interacting with the device.
  2. Isolate the Area: Keep others away from the device.
  3. Report: Call 911 and provide details about the device and its location.

Community Involvement and Safety Measures

Importance of Neighborhood Watch Programs

Neighborhood watch programs are a vital part of community safety. These programs encourage residents to be vigilant and report suspicious activities, fostering a sense of collective responsibility. Participation in neighborhood watch programs can lead to:

  • Reduced crime rates
  • Improved police-community relations
  • Enhanced sense of security

How to Get Involved in Community Safety

  1. Join a Neighborhood Watch: Participate in or start a neighborhood watch program.
  2. Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with local crime reports and safety tips.
  3. Educate Others: Share safety information with neighbors and encourage them to stay vigilant.

Resources for Reporting and Staying Informed

  • Local Police Departments: Contact information and non-emergency numbers are often available on city websites.
  • Community Watch Programs: Many neighborhoods have established programs with resources and contacts.
  • Online Platforms: Websites and apps like Nextdoor and CrimeMapping provide real-time updates on local crime.


Staying vigilant and proactive about community safety is crucial for maintaining a secure living environment. By being aware of common suspicious objects and activities, understanding city-specific concerns, and knowing how to respond appropriately, you can help protect yourself and your neighbors. Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and report anything that seems out of the ordinary.

Community safety is a shared responsibility. By getting involved in neighborhood watch programs and staying informed about local crime trends, you can contribute to a safer and more secure Illinois. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and don’t hesitate to call the police if you see something suspicious outside your house.

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MBS Staff
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